Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Innovative AAC apps

Full-Featured Picks:
(AAC systems with extensive vocabulary and features pre-programmed; ready or virtually ready to use immediately)

Picture/Icon Based:

Speak For Yourself -Full Review here  GIVEAWAY 1 SFY x4 - 1 for each week in April here.

Speak For Yourself is so efficient at word finding.  Only two taps are necessary to get to the word you want to say. There is an innovative search feature that teaches where a word is stored with visual cues, so care providers and therapists (and the users themselves) can easily find words in Speak For Yourself and model them to the user.  Other features include "Hold that thought" which allows the user to pull from a bank of stored phrases, and a history feature.  Another innovative feature is the app's ability to grow with the user- you can easily close out words until you are ready to use them- which means no rearranging of pages as a user's vocabulary expands- everything is instead right there, waiting to be revealed when the user is ready. There is also an active Facebook group for Speak For Yourself users where you can bounce ideas off of other parents and professionals who are using the app.  Speak For Yourself is also on Google Play (Android) but it has been a varied experience from users depending on their device. Consider ontacting SFY for android tablet recommendations/ compatibility.

AACorn - Full Review at

Designed specifically with children in mind, AACorn uses real children's voices, integrates drawing capabilities into the communication icons and has a special mascot, Buddy- an innovative character who provides a step-by-step tutorial of AACorn to help your child become excited and invested in his new AAC voice. AACorn uses a "word tree" format- as the child builds sentences, their words become part of the word tree- it will grow and expand as the user's vocabulary does, with new branches predicting word choices based on the child's unique past sentence history.  AACorn also has the ability to create more than one user profile- you can even set up separate profiles for your child's speech therapist and classroom teacher to get to know AACorn without affecting your child's word tree. There is also a place to include personal information about each child- this will show up in the "About Me" button. As a parent of a child with multiple food allergies, I think this feature is wonderful! Profiles and all their contents can be backed up to iTunes or Dropbox too, so no worries about setting up everything again after updating your iPad.

AutisMate - Full Review here GIVEAWAY 1 AutisMate code April 1-30 here.

AutisMate is incredibly flexible- it is a one stop shop for communication, scheduling, video modeling and more, all in one package. There is a complete AAC vocabulary included, which you can insert seamlessly into social stories, video modeling, customizable hot spot scenes, schedules... If you want one system integrated to meet a variety of needs, AutisMate is an app you will want to take a  look at.

As of May 2014 a new AutisMate should be out-AutisMate 365. All existing AutisMate users prior to this release will always have access to the original AutisMate as they did prior to the release, at no additional cost.

Note from Developer: The new features of AutisMate 365, including cloud syncing capabilities, a community content library and easy collaboration between home, school and therapy, are all enhancements to the current features of AutisMate.   Because we value our loyal users so much, we are offering them a free two-year cloud subscription so they can try out all the new, exciting features of AutisMate 365. There is no credit card required to activate the subscription, they can cancel at any time and there is no obligation to continue the subscription after the two years are up.  All current supports and content in AutisMate will be automatically and seamlessly backed up and available instantly on AutisMate 365.

 Stay tuned for more information, but you can sign up here to be one of the first in the meantime: AutisMate 365

SpeechTree- More information at SpeechTree

Excerpt from iTunes: SpeechTree is the only AAC app that combines an Interactive Learning Program & Complete AAC Communication System. Perfect for beginning and emerging AAC communicators who require lots of practice, encouragement and support." 

SpeechTree has training lessons integrated in to the app. Strengthen both receptive and expressive vocabulary skills using one of 20 integrated lessons in SpeechTree; SpeechTree tracks the user's progress too.

ChatAble-  On sale for $79.99 in April, Autism Awareness Month.  GIVEAWAY 1 Suite of Therapy Box apps April 1-30  here.

ChatAble offers a fully functional AAC component with Facebook integration and handwriting recognition as an input method (Chatable's sister app, Predictable, also has this function. ChatAble has a very easy to use visual scene feature with a really exceptional option- an alarm function! Choose an image from your camera roll, from one of the 12,000 widget symbols, or take a photo on the spot.  Then program hot spots where you can embed your voice, a video or even a song from your iTunes, and to top it off program the visual scene to signal an alarm at a certain time of the day.

Excerpt from iTunes: A new wave in augmentative communication from the award winning app developers, Therapy Box.

Create and use symbol based grids…or use photos to make visual scene displays. Or, take both and create a hybrid page. The possibilities are endless with ChatAble. ChatAble is an easy to use communication aid app for people with communication difficulties who benefit from symbol and photo support. Parents, teachers and therapists can create page sets in minutes with an intuitive set up. The customisation options are extensive to enable people with a range of physical, cognitive and language abilities the opportunity to use the app to communicate at home, school or with their family and friends.

TTS & Icon Based:

PredictableGIVEAWAY 1 Suite of Therapy Box apps April 1-30  here. Also on GOOGLE PLAY (Android)

With an innovative handwriting input option, word prediction with dyslexia support, social media integration and more, Predictable offers a lot of features to meet different needs.  You can easily print out or mail generated text also, which makes this a good classroom support for students with dysgraphia too.
There are several other versions of this app to accommodate different langauges as well: Predictable Espanol, Predictable Norsk, Predictable Dansk,  Predictable Deutsch, and Predictable Svensk

Excerpt from iTunes: Predictable is an exciting text-to-speech application for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Offering customisable AAC functions with the latest social media integration, Predictable sets a new benchmark. Using a word prediction engine and switch access, Predictable meets the needs of a wide range of people using AAC... A wide range of people are using Predictable, including those with MND / ALS, Cerebral Palsy and people with communication difficulties after a stroke or head injury.

TTS Only:

RocketKeys -Full Review hereGIVEAWAY 1 RocketKeys code April 1-30 here

RocketKeys is a  switch accessible text-based AAC system with sophisticated word prediction suitable for aphasic and dyslexic users; its customizable keyboards and accessible features make it a strong choice for literate users with vision or motor impairment.  It has a socially-hip word prediction engine based on thousands of twitter posts, and several innovative features to accommodate users with motor and visual challenges.

Excerpt From iTunes: RocketKeys is an amazingly customizable talking keyboard for people with speech disabilities. This powerful app lets you build the perfect keyboard by choosing the exact keys, size, layout, colors, prediction, and voices you want. And because RocketKeys understands touch input from users with unsteady or imprecise hands, it is very physically accessible.
RocketKeys is an essential communication tool for both children and adults with Aphasia, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson's, ALS, MND, and more.

For more TTS Text to Speech Apps see here.

Mid-Level Picks:
(AAC systems that have access to an extensive set of vocabulary and features but need pages set up prior to use.)

GoTalk Now - Full Review here

Aside from all the "essentials of an effective AAC app, like adjustable page layouts, customizable navigation, recorded and text-to-speech capabilities, and an included symbol set", GoTalk Now has several innovative features that make it stand out.  First, GoTalk Now allows embedding of links in buttons! This means that if desired, you can have a button that the user can press to take him or her directly to a website, video, or other media link. GoTalk Now also allows the user the flexibility of choosing between standard AAC pages, with or without a sentence bar, or "Scene" pages where custom hotspots can be added. SASK's favorite feature of GoTalkNow is the editing features which make changing fonts and colors a breeze. Best of all, it is easy to add multiple images to one button for a totally customized experience.  Users also have access to premade templates and pages contributed by other users.  Also check out GoTalk Now Plus, with more content available.

Entry Level Picks:
(AAC systems that may have access to a smaller set of vocabulary; may offer less features but allow editing and personalizing).

 Niki Talk+Tweet (FREE, IAP- $44.99) IAP on sale for $22.99 in honor of Autism Awareness Month.
 Watch video here.

Niki Talk + Tweet allows you to communicate and tweet with icons, pictures, and even drawings!  Niki Talk + Tweet can also be used as a traditional communication app with voice, with a familiar sentence strip bar where icons move to when selected
. The innovative paint feature allows you to draw on existing icons, even.  If tweeting is not your thing, there is also a Niki Talk app with similar features, just no tweeting.

InnerVoice ($19.99)   50% OFF $19.99> $9.99 during April, Autism Awareness Month

Very innovative "'avatar" creation- watch your avatar (from your own photo) or one of the included avatars) talk along with the words selected and spoken. This is actually quite amazing- your photo will seem to "come alive" - with your head tilting, eyes blinking, and mouth moving with the words you have chosen. This is a simulation- this will not show the proper articulation for each word, but the mouth will match the number of syllables and show lip closure.  The goal is to grab the attention of the user and have him or her focus on mouth movements and their important role in speaking. InnerVoice comes with two (small) sets of vocabulary pre-installed: "Basic Vocabulary" and "Core Vocabulary". You can also add your own words in a separate folder. This app also has a history feature so you can see what phrases are being selected by a user. There is a built in manual you can access for help, although editing and using the app is intuitive without it.  New features to enhance editing and use of the app are planned.  A MAJOR update has just been released as of Aug. 12 2014, more info here:

April is Autism Awareness (and Acceptance!) Month! Giveaways from around the web, including iPad minis, iPad cases, special needs and other great educational apps are found here:

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